Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Medical Documentary on a very isolated tribe

  1. Jan 11, 2009 #1
    yesterday I saw a documentary on a very isolated tribe,descovered in 1981!
    in the past,when they fought wars with other tribes,they eaten they're oponents to gain they're streinght(nonsence,of course)
    this however rised a question...what nutritional proprieties does a human have? (I'm not shore anyone researched this...)
    if it has a lot of proteins,and they lacked proteins,then they might've gained a +1 streinght,and make this canibalism ritual seem to them very true...
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 11, 2009 #2

    Danger

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: canibalism

    Humans have the same nutritional value as any other animal. I seem to recall from my very limited exposure to the subject that most cannibalistic societies ate specifically the brains and/or hearts of defeated enemies. The brain-eating has been blamed for a few outbreaks of encephalitis.
     
  4. Jan 11, 2009 #3

    jim mcnamara

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: canibalism

    Carlton Gadusek won a Nobel prize by finding that human diseases can be spread by ingesting what we now call prions through cannabalism. In his case, he studied New Guinea tribesmen who ate the brains of their deceased relatives. The relatives later on developed tremors and other symptoms of central nervous system dysfunction.

    Scrapie, CJD, and mad cow disease are examples of spongiform encephalitis spread by ingesting prions in food. The other point is that cannibalism may be culturally viewed as respectful.

    Human cannibalism has social meaning - it transcends nutrition.
    Example:
    While this book is decried by descendants of the Anasazi, the authors posit that cannibalism was used in a social enforcement and control measure context. The cannibals here were NOT short of food, or deprived of protein - this was pure retribution. -- per the authors.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
  5. Jan 11, 2009 #4

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: canibalism

    Kuru is a disease caused by prions, which causes encephalitis when eating brains infected by it.
     
  6. Jan 11, 2009 #5

    Monique

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: canibalism

    Did you learn anything about their diet besides the cannibalism?
     
  7. Jan 11, 2009 #6
    Re: canibalism

    so being a zombie is not what causes eating brains, but eating brains makes one a zombie? :tongue2:
     
  8. Jan 12, 2009 #7

    jim mcnamara

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: canibalism

    Monique - kuru is indeed the disease Gadusek studied. However, since it's really obscure a better example is probably mad cow disease. Especially in light of Proton Soup's contribution to this thread. :)
     
  9. Jan 12, 2009 #8
    Re: canibalism

    I remember reading about a man back in the 1930's{I think he was a magazine writer} ,who got a piece of human flesh, cooked it up and ate it. Then wrote about it, I recall him saying it tasted like veal. Not unpleasant at all.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Documentary on a very isolated tribe
  1. Isolation of mRNA (Replies: 1)

Loading...